Ethiopia, Ghana, and Haiti are three of the most important countries in the African Diaspora. Here’s why.
Ethiopia & Anti-Colonialism
In the 1800s, European powers sought to dominate and exploit the African continent through imperialism and colonialism. Countries like France, Belgium, Portugal, Britain, and Germany notoriously scrambled to divide and conquer Africa politically, socially, and economically. Although Africans throughout the continent resisted tremendously and most of these countries would eventually gain their independence, Europeans used murder, theft, military invasions, slavery, and genocide to insert themselves into power. Of all of the countries in Africa, Ethiopia, formerly known as Abyssinia, was the only country that was able to successfully avoid European domination. The attempt of the Italians to establish rule was ruined when shoulders led by Menelik II defeated them in battle. Ethiopia became a global symbol of black freedom and power, influencing both the Rastafarian and Pan-African movements.
Ghana & Pan-Africanism
After decades of British colonial rule, Ghana, formerly the Gold Coast, gained its independence on March 6, 1957. It was the first African country to do so. Revolutionary leader Kwame Nkrumah became Ghana’s first president. Nkrumah was an adamant Pan Africanist and believed that if Africans on the continent and throughout the Diaspora would unite, it would liberate them from oppression and exploitation globally. He was inspired by Marcus Garvey, and worked with African leaders like Jomo Kenyatta and African American leaders like W.E.B. DuBois and Malcolm X to fight imperialism and racism respectively. Nkrumah’s legacy in Ghana still thrives as the country welcomes all members of the Diaspora with open arms.
Haiti & Liberation
Africans were enslaved throughout the Americas for nearly four hundred years. Millions were murdered, tortured, brutalized, and stripped of their freedoms, histories, and cultures. However throughout this period, Africans were not only resilient but also resistant. One of the greatest and most organized acts of resistance led to one of the most important revolutions in world history, the Haitian Revolution. In 1804, Haiti, then the French colony of Saint-Domingue, not only completed the world’s largest and most successful slave revolt, but also ended French colonial rule on the island. Sparked by a sacred voudon ceremony and led by Toussaint L’Ouverture and Jean-Jacques Dessalines, Haitians freed the slaves on the island and defeated one of the greatest world powers of the time. This revolution led to many more slave uprisings and emancipation throughout the Americas. Haiti did not wait for its freedom. It demanded and fought for it. Haiti is one of the most important symbols of black power and liberation in history.